Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is one of the most significant breeding homes of the sea turtles in Odisha. The sanctuary is termed as one of the most enchanting destinations to explore by the wildlife enthusiastic in Odisha. It is located in the Kendrapada district of Odisha and is famous knows for the mating Olive Ridley sea turtles.
But recently a seven-month fishing ban has been announced at Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary as to protect the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles. In November the mating season starts in the seawater and lay eggs in March. To protect them, the officials decided to deploy the forest guards for arresting the fishermen who will be entering the marine sanctuary in these seven months.
The Marine Sanctuary is the main feeding area for the sea turtle that comes to this are every year to breed and then lay eggs. In Nasi 1 and Nasi 2 islands these turtles come up for the breeding process. Even in 1997, the Odisha Government declared Gahirmatha as a marine sanctuary to preserve the sea turtles as it arrives at the coast for laying eggs every year.
Debashis Bhoi, range officer, stated that they have set up around 15 turtle protection camps which include three offshore ones at Agaranashi Barunei and Babubali Islands. This year the personnel of marine police stations along with the Indian Coast Guard will help the forest officials in deterring illegal fishing at Kharinashi and Paradip. The Forest department has also asked the support of volunteers and turtle researchers of Gahirmatha Marine Turtle and Mangrove Conservation Society (GMTMCS) to protect the turtles in the sea.
Trawlers and boatmen have been instructed not to fish within 20 km from the coastline in the marine sanctuary area covering 1,435 sq km from Hukitola to Dhamra.
Under Odisha Marine fishing Regulation Act 1982, last season for illegal fishing around 773 fishers was arrested with 80 boats and trawlers were seized in Gahiramatha. Previous year around four lakh turtles laid eggs at Nasi 1 and Nasi 2.
Article Written by Dikhya Mohanty
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